Nov 27, 2018

Mars InSight lander marks crucial mission milestone

The Instrument Deployment Camera, located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this picture of the Martian surface on Nov. 26. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars InSight lander, which touched down on the red planet on Monday, has successfully deployed its solar panels and transmitted its first image from the spacecraft's Instrument Deployment Camera, located on the lander's robotic arm.

Why it matters: For InSight to complete its mission of drilling deep into the interior of Mars, it needs energy to charge its batteries. The lander's mission could provide new insights into how Mars formed and evolved, which could shed light on Earth's history too.

  • InSight's two solar arrays are each 7 feet wide and capture enough of Mars' weak sunlight to keep the lander charged. "Even when dust covers the panels — what is likely to be a common occurrence on Mars — they should be able to provide at least 200 to 300 watts," NASA said in a press release.

What's next: During the next few days, scientists will use the spacecraft's robotic arm and attached camera to take pictures of the surface near the lander itself. This will help the team decide where to deploy the scientific instruments.

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Americans urged not to travel to South Korea as coronavirus cases near 1,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The CDC warned travelers in an alert to avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea, as the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country rose to 977 on Tuesday morning.

The big picture: WHO has expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,703 people and infected more than 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 mins ago - Health

Trump says RBG and Sotomayor should recuse themselves from his cases

President Trump at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted during his India visit late Monday that Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg should "recuse themselves" from cases involving him or his administration.

Why it matters: The president's criticism of the liberal justices comes after he attacked the judge overseeing the case of his longtime advisor Roger Stone, who was sentenced last Thursday to 4o months in prison for crimes including lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Deadly clashes erupt in Delhi as Trump visits India

Rival protesters over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi, India, on Monday. Photo: Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for calm Tuesday as deadly clashes erupted in the city's northeast between supporters and opponents of India's controversial new citizenship law.

Why it matters: Per the BBC, a police officer and six civilians "died in the capital's deadliest day" since last year's passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act — which allows religious minorities but excludes Muslims from nearby countries to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted for their religion — as President Trump and members of the U.S. first family are in Delhi as part of a two-day visit to India, though it's away from the violence.

Go deeper: India's citizenship bill continues Modi's Hindu nationalist offensive